ABOARD THE REGENT SEVEN SEAS EXPLORER — The Nice attack struck a personal chord with many of the 628 travel advisers and invited guests aboard the Regent Seven Seas Explorer inaugural cruise that departed Monte Carlo in the wee hours of July 14.

Most had flown to the airport in Nice to board the ship, and many had taken advantage of an excursion, offered by the cruise line en route to the ship, into the city.

Frank Del Rio
Frank Del Rio

Tragedy struck less than 24 hours after the ship departed Monegasque waters, so it wasn’t surprising that one of the first questions from the audience to Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio during a town hall meeting in the ship’s Constellation Theater the next day began “In view of recent events…”

The questioner wondered if there was anything the executive could share that the audience of travel advisers could say to reassure their clients about the security aboard the vessel and on shore.

“Security issues are first and foremost on our minds,” Del Rio said. Ships, he continued, are not soft targets. “They’re made of steel,” he said, “and we are operating at the highest levels of security, and the ports are operating at the highest level of security.”

There were, he added, “seamless” precautions that guests can’t see. While he noted that there are some measures he couldn’t discuss, he did mention that divers go beneath the ship before it leaves ports and that the line takes great precautions when taking on provisions. Dogs were being used to enhance security.

CLIA provides security support to all cruise lines, he said, and additionally, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings subscribes to various safety security services, as well as receiving current information from the State Department.

Passengers sometimes get upset when a port call is canceled or changed even though itineraries are planned years ahead, Del Rio said. “Sometimes, people think it was done to save money. That’s not the case. Sometimes, we may get news it might not be a good idea to go to that port at that time.”

“There’s a pattern, and it’s going to be broken. Nobody wants this. And I have great faith that when the world doesn’t want something, it’s very resourceful. This will end, and it will end soon.” — Frank Del Rio

What’s going on in the world is scary, he continued, “but we also have to recognize that if it can happen in San Bernardino or in the land of the mouse, it can happen anywhere. It’s important not to give in. Besides [travel] being our livelihood, it’s our responsibility to thwart this behavior. We can’t let them win, and we’re not going to let them win.”

The audience responded with energetic applause.

Earlier that day, in an interview with Travel Weekly, Del Rio had said, “There’s a pattern, and it’s going to be broken. Nobody wants this. And I have great faith that when the world doesn’t want something, it’s very resourceful. This will end, and it will end soon.”

In the meantime, Del Rio said, “We have to rely on our [travel] counselors, perhaps more than ever, to communicate information. Travel is still safe and cruising is, by far, the safest mode of travel.”

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